Frugal Starbucks: How to Drink Expensive Coffee For Less

You have to admit it, you are guilty of the occasional trip to Starbucks. Some consider Starbucks the “fast food of coffee” and only visit when local options aren’t available; others use Starbucks as a special treat and only visit on occasion; and still more Americans visit Starbucks multiple times a week in order to grab their morning coffee or an afternoon pick-me-up.

However you view this coffee chain, the fact is that it’s expensive. $5 for a drink is a little ridiculous, yet people pay it every day. Did you know you could be keeping as much as half of that money in your pocket? Here are some tried-and-true ways to save a buck at Starbucks.

Iced Coffee

Iced coffee at Starbucks is tasty, frugal, and a perfect replacement for iced lattes. Order your iced coffee with your favorite syrup (5 pumps for tall, 6 for grande, and 7 for venti) and cream for a beverage that so closely resembles your usual iced latte you’ll hardly be able to taste a difference. 

Split Drinks

A hot venti cup at Starbucks holds about 20 oz, while a cold venti cup holds 24 oz. Meanwhile, a tall cup holds about 12 oz. One venti drink is nearly always cheaper than two talls. By ordering a venti beverage and splitting it between two people, you will both be getting the equivalent of a tall coffee drink without the tall price tag.

Don’t have an extra cup? Just ask for one! Most baristas are happy to help. If this makes you uncomfortable, order a tall water, drink the water and use the empty cup to split the drink. 

Skip the Ice, Cream, or Whip

Ice, cream, and whipped cream all take up valuable real estate in your cup. By asking not to have these items you will receive more of the actual drink you are after. Skipping the cream obviously only works when it comes to coffee and iced coffee, and asking for no ice will only work for cold beverages. If you must have cream or ice, you can ask for a bigger cup and add them after the fact. A cup of ice is free at most Starbucks stores, and the condiment bar always has half-and-half and milk options available.

By following these tips, you will have your Starbucks fix as well as more bucks to spend elsewhere.